Top News: Egypt’s New Cabinet: Bureaucrats, Technocrats and Islamocrats

Mohamed Morsi and Hesham Kandil

Egypt’s ministers of finance and foreign affairs said on Wednesday they were keeping their posts in a new government being formed by Prime Minister-designate Hesham Qandil, Reuters reported. Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saeed confirmed they would stay on after a meeting with Qandil, who is due to formally announce his Cabinet Thursday. 


Egypt’s new cabinet: Bureaucrats, technocrats and Islamocrats

[Ahram Online, Al Shorouk (Arabic), 8/1/2012] Egypt’s ministers of finance and foreign affairs said on Wednesday they were keeping their posts in a new government being formed by Prime Minister-designate Hesham Qandil, Reuters reported. Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saeed confirmed they would stay on after a meeting with Qandil, who is due to formally announce his Cabinet Thursday. Nile News, a state-run television station, ran the a list of nominees for the ministerial posts on its breaking news bar. According to a reporter for the channel, Qandil has already finalized the formation of the Cabinet, and some new ministers made statements to the press at the cabinet building.

New Minister of Interior vows to deal with thuggery

[Al Masry Al Youm Liveblog, Ahram Online, Youm7 (Arabic), 8/1/2012] Ahmed Gamal Eddin, Egypt’s new Minister of Interior, vowed that a lot of security issues will be dealt with, including thuggery and restoring security back to the streets. He also added that he will fight drug dealing and will keep tight security measures at the borders. Gamal Eddin thanked ex minister of Interior, Mohamed Ibrahim, for his efforts in restoring security after the revolution. Activists showed their discontent by claiming that the new Minister of Interior, who was one of Mohamed Ibrahim’s aides, told the National Security committee at the Parliament that protesters during Mohamed Mahmoud clashes were trying to break into the ministry. Others claimed he was responsible for testifying in favor of of police officers in one of the killing protesters cases.

Egypt presidency to issue monthly progress reports: Spokesman

[Ahram Online, 8/1/2012] The office of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will begin issuing monthly reports about the president’s activities and achievements, Morsi spokesman Yasser Ali announced at a Tuesday press conference. The initiative, he said, aimed at keeping the Egyptian public apprised of Morsi’s progress on a host of pressing domestic issues. Ali went on to say that, since taking office in June, Morsi had been working to implement his presidential programme, which revolves around several main points. These include human rights, his 100-day plan, national cohesion, poverty alleviation, economic revival, education, scientific research and foreign policy. Ali added that Morsi planned to hold monthly meetings with media figures to discuss how best to deal with citizens’ demands and grievances and to provide details of the president’s activities.


Constituent Assembly may extend president’s term to 5 years

[Egypt Independent, 7/31/2012] The Constituent Assembly is considering extending the president’s term to five years to match the terms of members of Parliament, assembly members said on Monday. The assembly also intends to do away with the obligatory allocation of 50 percent of parliamentary seats to farmers and workers and reduce the number of members appointed to the Shura Council — as opposed to elected — to 20, as opposed to one-third of the total seats. Also in Monday’s meeting, the assembly also agreed that a declaration of war needs the approval of both Parliament and the National Defense Council. Forty-eight articles of the constitution have so far been completed.


Presidential office to sue media outlets for defaming Morsy

[Egypt Independent, 7/31/2012] The office of President Mohamed Morsy has filed two lawsuits against two state media outlets on charges of defaming the president and spreading false news, said presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali on Tuesday. Ali did not reveal the names of the media outlets, reported state-run newspaper Al-Ahram. "We embrace freedom of expression, but we have to be meticulous about the information we publish," Ali said, adding that President Morsy advocates for the freedom of the media. However, spreading news without evidence or facts causes a state of confusion in Egypt, he continued. Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud on Tuesday also filed a similar lawsuit with the public prosecutor on behalf of Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, claiming that state TV and the state-owned Rose al-Youssef newspaper had spread false news about the Brotherhood.


Man sentenced to one year for insulting Prophet’s companions

[Egypt Independent, Al Tahrir (Arabic), 7/31/2012] Egyptian authorities sent Mohamed Fahmy to Wadi al-Natrun Prison on Tuesday to serve a one-year sentence for insulting the Prophet’s companions and spreading the Shia doctrine. A court of appeal issued the verdict against Fahmy Thursday after he appealed the first ruling, which sentenced him to three years and fined him LE100,000. His lawyer, Youssef Qandil, threatened to escalate the issue internationally and submit a complaint to the United Nations, describing the verdict as “personal” and “fabricated.” Anti-Shia rhetoric is prevalent in Egypt, especially among Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi movement. Shia community leaders also complained of persecution under former President Hosni Mubarak.

Anti-Islamist activists call for action against Morsy

[Egypt Independent, 7/31/2012] Anti-Islamist activists distributed statements Tuesday advocating a second revolution on 24 August against the Muslim Brotherhood and calling for the downfall of President Mohamed Morsy and the Freedom and Justice Party. The statements, distributed next to Fateh mosque in downtown Ramses Square, coincided with messages circulating on Facebook for the so-called “Second Revolution Movement.” The movement claimed in a statement that the armed forces supported the people’s demands, but then Islamist groups took over the revolution and made the real revolutionaries step aside. It also accused Islamists of manipulating unrest for their own gains.

New Sectarian Violence Erupts In Egyptian Village

[AP, Al Masry Al Youm (Arabic), 7/31/2012] Security officials say new sectarian violence has erupted in a village near Cairo following the death of a Muslim man after earlier clashes there. The officials say police used tear gas early on Wednesday against angry Muslims who were trying to torch the local church. The rioters set ablaze three police trucks and damaged several Christian homes. Sixteen people, including 10 policemen, were injured. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Sectarian violence first erupted in Dahshour on Friday, when Christian and Muslim villagers hurled firebombs at each other in a fight that started when a Christian laundry worker burnt a Muslim’s shirt.


Egypt stocks rise on projected political stabilization

[Ahram Online, Al Masry Al Youm (Arabic), 7/31/2012] Political situation continue to be the main driver that affects Egypt’s bourse. The positive performance of the market Tuesday is mainly a reflection of relative political stability. "The adjournment of the ruling on constitution- drafting assembly till 24 September assured investors over the coming two months during which the constitutional assembly may finish the writing of the constitution", Eissa Fathy, head of securities at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, told Ahram Online. Confirmation by the president spokesman that members of the presidential consultative body will be revealed, and the ministerial cabinet will be announced and sworn-in next Thursday was another comforting factor for investors.


Egypt official: leader’s letter to Israel is fake

[AP, Al Masry Al Youm (Arabic), 7/31/2012] A letter to Israel from Egypt’s new president hoping for regional peace kicked up a stir Tuesday when the Egyptian leader’s Islamist movement denied he sent it. Israel insisted the letter was genuine. The spat underlined the touchy nature of Egyptian-Israeli relations, always frosty but now especially sensitive in the wake of Muslim Brotherhood victories in Egyptian elections. It also appeared to show some disarray in the fractured Egyptian government. The letter, ostensibly sent by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, was a response to a message from Israeli President Shimon Peres, conveying Israel’s good wishes for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry did not provide an immediate response on the issue.

Photo Credit: AFP

Image: MorsiQandil.jpg